WRITEUP: Drive Shaft Lubrication
To loosen the dang nut holding the axle on: Hey Mike and Stewart— Find a 2-foot long piece of steel pipe that is of a diameter that just slips over the end of your wrench. This extends your point of force application way out there (increases your leverage) to where you shouldn't need to whack things with a hammer. I happen to have a breaker bar (solid 15" length ratchet handle) for my ˝" socket set (the socket required is 27 mm) and I use a 2 foot long piece of 1" galvanized pipe that slips neatly over the end of it. I can break loose the axle nut by pressing down on the end of the pipe with one hand. Note: I have to hold the opposite nut end in place with a separate wrench when I do this, but it is easily done. . . . Chris Down (but almost back!) in San Jose, CA
Or, you can use the Mechmo Method: Thanks again to all who responded. I got a 12 inch adjustable wrench from Lowe's. Banged on it with a 3 or 4 lb. hammer. Banged > on it some more. Banged on it some more. I was about to give up, and then it started moving.
(I believe the description below is for the 1500. See the one later in this section that was written by someone with the beloved VN750 - SN)
Please read this entire section before you begin. The drive shaft splines or the "Propeller Shaft Joint" are supposed to be initially lubricated at 10,000 km (6,000 miles), and 30,000 km (18,000 miles) thereafter, per the "Periodic Maintenance Chart" in the Kawasaki manual. It is one of the most neglected items. Many people have experienced stripped splines (this happens on all shaft-driven bikes)... if not properly maintained. Don't you be one of them - if you are, you will need to purchase a new or used rear pinion gear assembly which runs over $800 new, since they are only sold as a unit as the pinion and ring gears are factory shimmed and matched. I strongly suggest lubricating per below every time you change your rear tire.
1. Put bike on center stand
2. Remove rear tire (deflate it and remove the license plate to get out from under fender). If you still do not have enough room, you can take off the front tire and push the forward part of the bike down, but you must be very careful not to let it drop off the center- stand !
3. Remove the 4 bolts holding the rear bevel case to the drive shaft tube and pull the rear pinion gear assembly (the big round hub that fits on the wheel) off the drive shaft. #3 should include loosening the top shock bolt and removing the lower shock from the hub assembly so it will pull away from the driveshaft housing of the swingarm.
4. Clean the spline (male side). No reason to take off the C-clip inside the collar (female side) that the spring and pinion fit into. Check the rubber O-ring (It appears to be part number 92055) on the pinion. If it shows ANY wear, replace it (I suggest replacing anyway to be sure). The O-ring is the only thing that keeps the grease in- if it breaks you CANNOT see the grease leaking out, since this area is covered by the drive shaft tube !).
5. Pack the collar with approx. 17 ml of high-temp molybdenum disulfide grease (see below). That's a tad over 3 teaspoons (5 ml = 1 teaspoon)
6. On the other side of the shaft (front side on the left side of the engine), pull the rear portion of the rubber boot off, pull the shaft back to expose the spline and lubricate. The front splines experience little back and forth motion, due to the heavy spring loading in the rear spline coupler (connected to the pinion). The spring in the rear keeps the front splines pushed together tightly (with all the in/out motion confined to the rear). However, the manual says to coat the front splines with a "thin coat of high temp grease", so it's best to do it.
7. Mate the front spline, then the rear spline (remember to insert the spring) and reassemble (17.5 ft-lb torque on the 4 bolts)
Other helpful notes
- There is NO need to remove the front bevel gear case to access the front splines. Just pull the rear of the rubber boot off the drive shaft (the one with the smaller tabs), pull the drive shaft off the splines, and grease the splines with a thin coat. Also grease the universal joint while you are in there (I used a spray lithium grease for that). Then align and slide the front of the shaft back on with the boot peeled back. Do not mess with the front of the boot (with the larger tabs). It is hard to get off/on. - When you pull off the Final Gear Case, there is NO need to drain it (unless you need to). Just do not tip it upside down. It will leak from the vent/breather hole. - Make sure no air is trapped when you pack the spline collar, so the rubber O-ring will hold all the grease where it's supposed to stay. About the swing-arm and steering head bearings: - The manual also calls for lubricating the swing-arm. Forget it unless it has sticky spots or sideways movement. The bearings are SEALED inside the arm. You replace them when they go bad. I am not sure why Kawasaki says to lubricate them. These bearings should last just forever unless you do a LOT of riding in the rain or regularly use a high-pressure sprayer.. This is like the car service manager telling his customer he needed to have his fuel system cleaned at 25,000 miles, Geeeze. - Same thing for the steering head bearings. See testimonial below, from a VN750 Poster ("sea_wolf_59"):
If you can get the bike up, you won't need to remove the muffler. Pull both shocks and it will let the wheel drop low enough so the bolt will just clear the muffler. If you DO end up pulling the muffler, just be careful pulling it so that the sealing wrap around the pipe is not damaged. I pulled the mufflers on mine when I pulled the rear swingarm (a necessity then) but the seal wrap (don't know what the proper name for the stuff is) was in good shape. I just reassembled the muffs when done and have had no leaks or problems. MokiMan
You don't need a jack, etc. Just remove the rear fender. Put the bike on its centerstand. Removing four 10mm bolts (2 on chrome rail, and 2 near batterybox under the seat) attaching the rear fender and disconnecting the rear taillite harness. Keep the rear taillite assembly on the fender as you remove the rear fender. Roll out the rear wheel after the fender is removed. Its a snap! Lance
The crush gaskets are up where the pipe attaches to the cylinder. If you are just removing the muffler, you don't need new gaskets.
The nut on the rear axle can be real ornery motha. I had to use a 1/2 inch drive breaker bar AND slipped a pipe over the end to extend out another two feet to get enough leverage the first time I took mine off. You may want to have someone steady the bike when you do that. When your applying that much torque, things can get out of control real quick. Also-- put some penetrating oil on the outer threads; it might help a little. . . . Chris San Jose, CA
The 60% Honda moly lube will work fine. I use the 70% moly from GuardDog and you can order it on line. A small tub will do about dozen bikes.
Recently lubed the driveshaft (2nd time), and want to report: The 1st time, about 7000 miles, I didn't know about the Honda Moly-60 stuff, and used a Valvoline synthetic high-temperature moly grease (3% moly). This time, 17000+ miles, I had the Honda Moly-60, thanks to this group. What I want to report is this: the Valvoline hi-temp moly grease was doing a fine job - splines were still greasy, grease (and splines) in good shape, and could have gone much longer before this maintenance. I think the important thing is to use a high-temperature grease. Of course I used the moly-60 this time. We'll see how it looks at the next teardown, say 30000.